Microsoft on Monday announced that a SkyDrive Metro app will be available for Windows 8. Windows users were previously able to save files to the SkyDrive website and then had the ability to access and/or share them throughout the Web. The next release of SkyDrive, however, will combine the company’s Live Mesh synchronization service into the file storing and Web service. Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog states that the new SkyDrive Metro app will have “files integrated into Windows Explorer on the desktop, and have the ability to fetch remote files through SkyDrive.com.” The desktop file sync will support files up to 2GB in size, and will provide “easy drag and drop upload and download access to your data, offline access and the power of Windows Explorer to manage files and folders.” The Windows 8 SkyDrive app looks to compete directly with services like DropBox as well as Apple’s iCloud. More →
Google is preparing to launch a new cloud storage service that will compete directly with popular start up Dropbox and similar services. The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday evening reported that Google is almost ready to announce the new service, which will be called Google Drive. Similar to Dropbox, which creates a virtual drive containing files that are mirrored on a user’s local hard drive and on cloud servers, Google Drive will allow users to store photos, videos, documents and other files in the cloud, and it will be accessible from computers as well as Android tablets and smartphones. The service will launch in the coming weeks according to the report, and it will be free to most users, though the report does not elaborate on the amount of free storage Google will provide or which customers might be charged. More →
Amazon has been a leader in the eBook reader space since it first introduced the Kindle eReader in November 2007. At that point in time, the Kindle had a 6-inch E Ink display that supported just four shades of gray, it included 250MB of storage that could accommodate about 200 eBooks, and it retailed for $399. For the first six months or so, Amazon couldn’t keep the device in stock — it was a smash hit.
IT professionals around the world are collectively more interested in developing and deploying mobile applications for Google’s Android platform than any other mobile OS. A new study conducted by IBM and published earlier this week included data from more than 4,000 IT professionals around the world, offering insights into a number of technology trends in 2011 and beyond. No space is hotter than mobile right now, and IBM’s survey found that 70% of IT pros are planning to develop and deploy applications for the Android platform. Read on for more. More →
Google on Wednesday took the wraps off a new and improved music service. Building onto “Music Beta by Google,” Google has launched Google Music, a publicly available cloud-based music services that will be free to users in the United States. Google Music users can add up to 20,000 songs from their local libraries to the cloud and stream them to any number of supported devices over the Internet. “Pinned” albums and songs are downloaded to devices and cached for local playback without the need for an Internet connection. Read on for more. More →
Gartner released a report on Friday that suggested Google’s Gmail solution is ready to take on Microsoft in the enterprise email arena despite having just a tiny fraction of the market. “While Gmail’s enterprise email market share currently hovers around 1 percent, it has close to half of the market for enterprise cloud email,” Gartner research vice president Matthew Cain said. “While cloud email is still in its infancy, at 3 percent to 4 percent of the overall enterprise email market, we expect it to be a growth industry, reaching 20 percent of the market by year-end 2016, and 55 percent by year-end 2020,” Cain added, noting that Gmail should “now be considered a mainstream cloud email supplier.” Microsoft Exchange and Gmail are the only two services that have gained momentum during the past few years while other solutions, such as Novell GroupWise and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino have started to fade out. Cain said that companies should consider splitting their email services between the cloud and on-premises servers which, for now, “plays to Microsoft’s strengths.” Gartner also suggested the Google/Microsoft rivalry will make it tougher for other competitors to enter the industry. Gartner’s full press release follows after the break. More →
Sprint’s head of business markets Paget Alves recently confirmed to CNET that the carrier will launch cloud-based services during the fourth quarter of this year. The offering will be available to small and medium sized business customers. Sprint will provide security, software and Internet hosting, and it will also offer an “infrastructure as a service” option, Alves told CNET. “The telcos are in a unique position because our business is centered around the cloud,” Alves said. “There’s quite a bit of demand. It’s the [number one] topic of conversation with [chief information officers].” Other carriers are also working on cloud-based services; in April, Verizon Wireless acquired cloud and managed IT infrastructure leader Terremark Worldwide for $1.4 billion. More →
Amazon launched its new Kindle Cloud Reader service on Wednesday that provides users with access their Kindle library using Chrome or Safari on Mac, PC, Linux and the Chromebook. Kindle Cloud Reader is also optimized for the iPad and offers a caching feature for offline reading. To get started, simply navigate to http://read.amazon.com and install the small required plug-in. We gave the service a quick run this morning and were impressed by how fast it loaded our eBook library. We definitely still prefer the standalone app on the iPad, but we’re sure Amazon created this option as a loophole to get around Apple’s iTunes App Store rules. Don’t use Safari or Chrome? Amazon still has you covered with its Kindle for PC client. Read on for the full press release. More →
Apple’s upcoming “iTunes Replay” service is indeed in the works, but the company has yet to sign “cloud agreements” with at least four of the top-six film studios in Hollywood that are necessary in order to launch the service, CNET News reports. As such, the site calls earlier reports that suggested an imminent launch premature. Apple is reportedly working on a service that will allow iTunes users to stream and re-download movies purchased through iTunes. Such a service would require Apple to sign new licensing agreements with motion picture studios in order to secure the appropriate rights that would allow Apple to serve content from the cloud and to multiple devices. According to CNET News, negotiations for these rights could “drag on for months.” The report also mentions a possible hurdle for Apple: HBO. HBO has agreements in place that grant it exclusive digital distribution rights to new movies from three of the six major film studios — 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. — for a certain period of time. HBO’s deals have caused problems for streaming services in the past, and it looks like Apple could be the latest victim. More →
Microsoft’s General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Experience on Monday announced that he is leaving Microsoft to launch a start up. Kindel did not share the details of his new endeavor, and his public profile on networking site LinkedIn lists him as Founder and CTO of <redacted> at A super secret stealth startup. “[The start up] has to do with sports, advertising, mobile, social-networking, and, of course, the cloud,” Kindel wrote in a post on his personal blog. “I’m insanely excited to get started.” The soon-to-be former executive was with Microsoft for 21 years, having joined the Redmond-based company’s developer support group in 1990. Kindel’s full email to his team regarding the decision follows below. More →
HTC on Friday announced that it has agreed to acquire Seattle-based cloud services company Dashwire for up to $18.5 million via its HTC America Holding division. Dashwire currently offers a range of cloud services for carriers, handset vendors and retailers, such as Dashworks, a cross-platform cloud sync solution available for Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. “Cloud services are key to delivering the promise of connected services to our customers,” HTC’s president of engineering and operations, Fred Liu, said in a statement. ”People want access to all of their important content wherever they are on any device. The addition of Dashwire’s cutting-edge sync services and deep mobile cloud experience strengthens our ability to deliver these services.” The acquisition looks like it certainly might enhance new services tied to HTC’s popular Sense suite, but we have a feeling HTC’s real interest in the company can be found in a Dashwire press release from April titled, “Dashwire Becomes Intellectual Ventures Customer and Gains Patents for Defensive Purposes.” Suggesting HTC acquired Dashwire for its cloud services is probably akin to suggesting people buy Playboy for the articles.
Apple is preparing to launch a new service that will allow iTunes users to re-download previously purchased music, movies and TV shows for free, AppAdvice reports. The service may also support some streaming functionality according to the report, though such functionality may be limited. In the past, iTunes users who lose content from their libraries were forced to either purchase the content again or essentially beg and plead with Apple customer service until they agreed to assist with free content restoration. This ridiculous practice is now in the process of coming to an end. AppAdvice claims to have confirmed the imminent launch of the iTunes Reply service with multiple sources, and such an offering has rumored to have been in the works from Apple for quite some time. According to the report, we can expect iTunes Replay to “go public in the coming weeks.” More →
Spotify launched in the United States less than two weeks ago and it is already the target of a patent infringement lawsuit. A firm called PacketVideo is suing and alleges that Spotify is infringing on patent 5,646,276 for “a device for the distribution of music information in digital form.” The patent describes a method of accessing music through a “central memory device” that is connected to a “communications network and has a databank of digitized music information.” Surely, your computer, mobile devices and the cloud are all “central memory devices” that can be used to access Spotify over communications networks, but the lawsuit sounds a bit far fetched to us. After all, there are dozens of competing services such as Rhapsody, Apple iCloud, Amazon, Pandora and Slacker that offer a similar experience. According to TechDirt, PacketVideo purchased the patent in question in 1995. More →